Before getting started, remember that different plants have different watering requirements. This blog contains general tips for watering trees, shrubs, and perennials. Make sure you research the plant you’re working with for more detailed information.

Trees, shrubs, and perennials need approximately an inch of water per week to stay healthy. The best way to know if your plants need a drink is to check the soil moisture. Use a trowel to dig down about 3 to 4 in for perennials. About 6 to 9 inches for trees and shrubs. If you feel the soil is dry, time to water. This can come from rain, irrigation, or a combination of both. When watering, deep and less frequent watering works the best to promote strong roots. 

There are many different methods you can use to water your trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Sprinklers are usually set on your sod, which is a peripheral frequent watering system. They work well for lawns and large perennial borders. Whereas trees and shrubs like a less frequent deep soak. With a sprinkler system, water loss through evaporation is common. Sprinklers also cause flowers to flop with the weight of too much moisture. Hoses are great for easily directing water to the soil. Hand watering can be a great relaxing chore, especially on a nice summer day. Make sure to aim your hose close to the ground, near the base of the plant instead of over the leaves. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems supply water closer to the root zone, and you can leave them in place all season. All you’ll have to do is hook up a hose when it’s time to water. 

The time of day you water is important. Aim to water in the early morning. This way you’ll lose less moisture due to evaporation during the heat of the day. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to water in the morning, water in the late afternoon or early evening. You want enough sunlight so the leaves have adequate time to dry before nightfall. It is not recommended to water late in the evening because it won’t have any time to evaporate at all. If it rains, you might not need to water.

Established plants with a strong root system do not need as much attention as ones newly planted. Newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennial plants need consistent watering. This is because their roots are still establishing. It is important to give them more attention, especially in hot weather. Notice if your perennials are wilting, this is usually a good indicator that it’s time to water. However, droopy leaves and stems aren’t always a signal that the plant is drought-stressed. Many perennials wilt in the afternoon, especially on hot, sunny days, but then they’re fine by morning.

With further questions feel free to reach out to our nursery team. Farmer John’s is happy to help with further watering questions. Happy Summer!